Friday, July 27, 2012

On The Rectification of Names

Yesterday's post (gosh, I'm actually doing two a week?  I must be feeling better . . .) raised some interesting comments, and led me to consider the Rectification of Names in relation to marital relationships.

Most of you have never heard the term -- it's a translation from the Chinese, and expounds one of the many fascinating aspects of Chinese legal customs and philosophies that underlie East Asian culture to this day.  It arises from the days of the well-run Chinese empires, Iron Age agricultural cultures with populations so vast that the Chinese had to develop one of the most sophisticated bureaucracies the world has ever known to administer it effectively.  One of the guiding principals of this bureaucracy -- "The Mandarinate" -- was the Rectification of Names.  Simply put, the agents of the Empire had the power to examine a problem situation in a province and "fix" it by recognizing who was actually doing the work and ensuring that they had the proper title and resources.  That is, if the CEO was skating by on the back of his hard-working assistant, then that assistant would be promoted to CEO.

In other words, you get the job that fits the title.  And you get the title that fits the job.  It's a Red Pill kind of principal, acknowledging the reality of the situation and ordering your response to the world accordingly, instead of honoring an occasionally useful fiction that's often inefficient, and will often lead to trouble.

I bring all this up because yesterday's post clarified a few things in my mind about most marital relationships.

As I said yesterday, you start out as boyfriend/girlfriend, with the heat of infatuation and attraction hormones and naked lust and adventurous sex and such.  That's the good stuff, the stuff everyone enjoys.  But there are certain basic levels of expectation about the Boyfriend/Girlfriend relationship.

You have sex with your Girlfriend, and she has sex with you, because you like each other, find each other hot, and want to indulge your sense of erotic adventure with each other more than anyone else in the world.  You claim your Girlfriend with the same primal imperative as 100,000 years of your tribal forebears did.  By fucking her passionately you are making with her a primal pact with your loins that you will treat her nicely, bring her presents, and protect her from evil.  You chose her, you impressed her, she honestly thinks you're a great guy -- great enough to do that thing she does that you really like with you and not anyone else.  That's what makes her your Girlfriend.  That's the job description.

And your Girlfriend has a sense of devotion to her Boyfriend because of all the women in the world, he chose her, he likes her, and he treats her with special consideration.  Oh, and he pounds her rotten, y'know, that way that makes her walk funny and giggle unexpectedly to her girlfriends, sisters, and occasionally to her mother.  She expects that he will protect her, and claim her as his alone, and that you'll hang out (possibly in public) where you can display your couplehood to your Matrix and possibly dance.  Your Boyfriend has to dance with you.  It's part of the job description.

Then there is the Engagement . . . official or unofficial, when you start cohabitating or planning a long-term relationship, perhaps with a commitment symbolized with a ring or a leased apartment or even a shared mortgage.  But once you are living together, regardless of the official status of the relationship, there is a new level of expectation for both sides.

You still have sex together, of course, but now you have responsibilities as a Fiance.  Beyond being a studmuffin in the sack and treating her special, you now have financial, household, and emotional responsibilities that rise far above the simple Boyfriend stage.  In turn, her responsibilities go up significantly as well, and the grueling task of figuring out who cooks, who does laundry and how, who cleans the toilet, who pays the insurance, and who gets to talk to the creepy landlord about the air conditioning get sorted out.  From a Boyfriend perspective, this sucks -- because your female Fiance has all these preconceived ideas about how you have to fold laundry and put it away before you wear it, and you pretty much have to do what she says because she has the only fully-functional vagina in the relationship.  Thus begins Betacization.

Before you recoil in horror, this is a necessary process.  When men make the transition from the single Puerarchy to taking the step toward full-fledged masculine adulthood, one of the vital lessons necessary to learn is How To Successfully Live With A Woman.  For some of us it takes a few live-in Girlfriends and maybe a failed Fiance or two to master the craft.  Some never master it.  But if you're planning on marrying someone female, or even living with them intimately for a long time, you have to master the beta skills implicit in being a Fiance.  How to put the toilet seat down and why.  Checking the oil in her car because you know that even though she's capable of doing it, she just won't.  Advanced Rodent, Reptile, Insect and Arachnid Removal.  Getting rid of salesmen and Jehovah's Witnesses at the door.  Making sure all the doors and windows are locked at night.

Where Beta starts being bad is when it starts hitting your sex life.  Good nurturing skills and comfort-producing nesting abilities sooth a woman you live with.  It makes your Fiance feel protected and cared for.  It also makes her feel sexually complacent, so that after an initial isn't-it-great-we-can-screw-in-our-own-place period of about ninety days, the novelty wears off and your frequency starts to fall.  You conclude that it's because she's not happy with something, so you bust your ass to make her happy by more nesting and comforting and nurturing and eventually ass-kissing . . . when all she really needs is a good booster shot of Alpha.  As secure as she feels with you as her Fiance, the fact is she needs the primal feeling of Alpha that only her Boyfriend could produce.

This is particularly frustrating for men, because the whole Betacization/Fiancification process is specifically designed to reduce and remove all of those bad-boy, panty-dampening things you did as Boyfriend.  And in the meantime, when you've been busting your ass to make her happy and you feel like you deserve some sexual appreciation for your efforts, she's just not feeling it as much anymore.  Your Fiance might put out, but she won't fuck you like your Girlfriend did.  That sparks confusion and resentment, and is a contributing factor to why many cohabitation relationships last about six months.  That's about as long as you can put up with not having a fully-functional Girlfriend as a dude without the strong desire to dump/cheat on her forming.

So in successful LTRs, the two people successfully integrate the Boyfriend/Girlfriend aspect back into their lives as Fiances.  After that first nasty six month period (and this is in general -- everyone's situation is different) they come to a meeting of the minds in which they learn to balance their new-found responsibilities as Fiances with their vital need to see their Boyfriend/Girlfriend on occasion.

Case in point: A few years before Mrs. Ironwood and I got engaged, when we were just wearily emerging from the worst of this transition, we hit an embarrassing sexual impasse.  We both had desire, we both knew we wanted to have sex, but we were so overburdened by our collective responsibilities as a couple that sex was just too complicated to negotiate.  And the fact that we even had to negotiate it was galling.  Behind the tangle of guilt, blame, recriminations, and accusations (all in reasonable, calm, and civilized tones, thanks to our Rules of Engagement) was the fact that I was angry that my Girlfriend had disappeared, and she was upset that her Boyfriend had taken off somewhere and left her this petty kitchen-obsessed tyrant.

The impasse was broken, of course.  The details are intimate and unimportant, but basically things didn't turn around until I mentally and emotionally abandoned the title of Fiance and just fucked my Girlfriend one day.  It took her by surprise, in light of our past arguments, but she responded by admitting that she had been really missing her Boyfriend for months now, too.  So we kicked the pile of stupid shit aside that had been causing us so much problems, and went out to a bar as Boyfriend and Girlfriend.

Or, in Red Pill terms, I accelerated my Alpha with a dominance display that led to her submissive response, which in turn engaged my desire to protect and defend.  That restored the balance in the relationship by reminding us that the point of it wasn't integrating our separate family Christmas list into one convenient budget-conscious list, it was the fact that I had a primal sexual connection with my Girlfriend that was mutually enjoyable and desired.  I was able to slide right back into a more Beta fiance mode right afterwards, but that experience became the foundation of a number of little rituals over the years.  And yes, we had tender, romantic, do-it-twice-before-brunch-on-Sunday Fiance Sex too, and it was great.  But it wasn't Boyfriend/Girlfriend sex.

Oh, but it doesn't end there.  If the title of Fiance involves learning how to live together, then the big title that comes with matrimony is vastly more sophisticated.  When it comes to obligations and expectations, being Husband and Wife has a list an order of magnitude larger than Boyfriend/Girlfriend.  There are whole new areas of responsibility which must be covered to have a successful marriage: in-laws, money management, homes, children, taxes, social expectation, social obligation, with everyone you know watching you and holding their breath to see if you're going to make it.

Talk about pressure.

A Husband, despite forty years of feminist attempts to erode the position, still comes with plenty of built-in expectation.  Homeowner (or Leaseholder) usually, even still.  Medical Power of Attorney.  Last Will and Testament.  Financial Planning.  Home Insurance.  Life Insurance.  Health Insurance.  Inheritance.  Social Security.  The legal obligations alone should require a three-credit-hour class to cover before they issue you a marriage license.  And within all of that you are still expected to be the primary breadwinner, handle household repairs and maintenance, be responsible for your fleet of vehicles, engage in a lot of childcare and housekeeping activities, hold down a job/career, and make your wife look good in front of her friends.

As a Wife, you are now likely in charge of the social obligations and calendar for you both, interactions with nearly all family members including your in-laws, scheduling, oversight of schools and homework, engage in a lot of childcare and housekeeping activities, oversee the cleanliness of the kitchen/bathroom areas for minimum feminine standards, enforce household rules about laundry and grocery items, manage a household budget with limited resources, deal with issues of credit and finance, provide transportation as needed, and sustain a robust enough social life so that your friends don't think you're being secretly abused or bored to death.

And then there is the sex.  Married sex is a whole different thing than Fiance Sex, and light-years from Boyfriend/Girlfriend sex.  Married people have sex for all sorts of reasons, but blind passion is rarely one of them.  Marriage tacitly obligates you to have sex, after all -- it was once considered a "marital duty" for both parties.  Having sex with your Wife is much different than having sex with your Fiance.  By that time, usually your Betacization has hardened into a thick shell, and often you come to see your thrice-a-month nookie as the best of bad situation, instead of a sexual cry for help.  Married sex is comfort sex, the Mac and Cheese of the sexual world.  It might not be exciting, but it's filling and it can get you by.

Oh, there's lots more to the Husband/Wife thing.  I'm still learning the nuances.

But here's the thing:


That's the point of the Rectification of Names.  When you move in with a dude, you don't stop being his Girlfriend.  When you put a ring on your finger, you don't stop being his Girlfriend.  When you take his last name and become the beneficiary of his life insurance policy, you don't stop being his Girlfriend.

Because when you stop being his Girlfriend . . . he's going to look around to find another Girlfriend.  Oh, he probably won't replace his Fiance or his Wife, but if he can't get the jolt of manly testosterone he gets from his Girlfriend from you, he'll resort to porn, to pouting, to argument, and to thoughts of infidelity.

Seriously, next time you and your wife have a social obligation where you don't know many people and it won't affect your careers, try taking off your rings for the evening and introducing her to everyone as your Girlfriend.  (You can admit you married her, if pressed).  See how people treat you differently, and how you treat each other differently after awhile.  When you're out with your Girlfriend, and not your Wife or Fiance, suddenly you look at the world differently.  Where a Husband would steadfastly refuse to acknowledge the glances from the hot blonde across the bar out of respect for his Wife, a Boyfriend can slide her a wicked grin while placing a territorial arm around his Girlfriend (and then try to whisper encouragement to go have sex in the bathroom).

When you have Date Night, decide in advance if you're having Married Date Night or Boyfriend/Girlfriend Date Night.  It will make a difference in your attitude and your experience. (Fiance Date Night is pretty much pizza and beer and a movie at home).  And don't forget to spend at least part of your week being a good Boyfriend/Girlfriend.

For example, a good Boyfriend:
Buys you chocolate just because he saw some and thought you'd like it.
Takes you to a rock concert and encourages you to take off your bra in the car
Tells you how sexy you look dancing at a rock concert without a bra
Escorts you to the bathroom and watches the door to fend off predators and watch your purse.
Grabs you after you get out of the bathroom and insists on making out in the back of the restaurant.
Buys you a strawberry daquari without asking you if you wanted one, because he knows you like them but you feel too guilty to order it on your own because of the sugar.
Calls you sexually suggestive nicknames in public
Brags about what a tiger in the sack he's dating to total strangers
Doesn't take three steps with you without putting his arm protectively around you or holding your hand.
Insists he's only with you for the hot sex.
Offers to go fuck up your boss at work if he keeps giving you a hard time.
Fully expects that you'll fuck him rotten once he kisses that spot between your ear and shoulder right there.
Doesn't give a shit about what your sister said about him.
Unapologetically grabs your ass when no one is looking.
Unapologetically tries to cop a feel when no one is looking.
Asks you if you're having a good time . . . and cares whether or not you're having a good time.
Will get into a fight in a bar over you, if given the chance.
Turns down some skank hitting on him with a chuckle and a "Sorry, honey, I brought my own -- and I took the upgrade!"
Doesn't hit on other girls.
Spends half an hour with his arms wrapped around you on the couch just because he wants to hold you.
Skips out early on work or some social obligation to steal an hour alone with you.
Tells you how beautiful you are and then teases you when you blush.

If you aren't acting like a good Boyfriend . . . by the power of the Rectification of Names, you aren't her Boyfriend.  Boyfriends are primarily Alpha.  They act from primal lusts that spring not from their attraction to your career prospects, but by how your ass makes that lovely figure 8 when you bounce away.  When she proposes moving in with you or otherwise "taking it to the next level", she doesn't realize that she's asking you to kill half of what she's attracted to in you any more than she does -- she just wants that Boyfriend who makes her panties wet and who she brags about to her girlfriends to to be around all the time.  Best of intentions.  

And after all, from her perspective, you just need a little fine-tuning . . .

Conversely, a good Girlfriend:

Doesn't bitch at her Boyfriend in public, and never runs you down.
Is willing to slap the bitch in the bathroom who tried to make a move on her Boyfriend.
Kisses you passionately just because you bought her some dumb chocolate.
Considers taking her bra off in the car at the concert just because you asked her to and her mother would have a heart attack.
Willingly and passionately makes out with you in the back of the restaurant, including letting you get away with copping a feel until that damn kid came out of the bathroom and busted you.
Blushes when you uses a sexually suggestive nickname in public.
Casually comments to total strangers what a big dick you have and what a powerful lover you are.
Doesn't talk about boring shit when you'd rather be making out.
Offers to tear the eyes out of your ex if she gives you a shout-out on Facebook ever again.
Snuggles up to you gratefully when you put a protective arm around her.
Fucks you rotten when you've kissed that special spot . . . and had a strawberry daquari or two.
Insists she's only in it for the hot sex.
Loves the fact that you don't give a shit about what her bitch of a sister thinks.
Grabs your dick discreetly under the table and rubs it just enough to make you skip dessert.
Thanks you for what a good time she's having.
Tries not to get her Boyfriend into bar fights he can't win.
Doesn't hit on other guys.
Keeps the bar skanks at bay from her man by hanging on you like a name tag in public.
Snuggles up into your armpit and allows her body to melt into yours for half an hour, just because being close to you feels that good.
Drops whatever the fuck it is she's doing when she finds out her Boyfriend skipped out on work or a social obligation for the express purpose of seeing her . . . and expresses her appreciation accordingly.
Has the grace to thank you for telling her she's beautiful.

If you aren't acting like a good Girlfriend, then by the Rectification of Names, you aren't his Girlfriend.  Girlfriends are primarily Alpha -- that is, they use their sexuality to engage and entertain their men, not their nurturing skills or ability to earn.  They act from primal lust that springs from the dual fonts of primal sexual desire and deep evolutionarily-controlled body agenda.  Sex -- and lusty, hot, recreational sex -- is part of the equation.  Sex without preconditions, negotiations, expectations, political ramifications, regret, worry, or anxiety.  You fuck him because he's YOURS, and he turns you on, and he's your Boyfriend.  You fuck him REALLY REALLY WELL because there is a sea of horny bitches out there who want a Boyfriend more than the breath of life itself . . . and what you're reluctant to do, they're all-too-eager.

All of that Boyfriend/Girlfriend stuff needs to be the well-established bedrock upon which the rest of your relationship is built.  If you're prowling the Manosphere looking for help, then it's quite possible you've forgotten how to be a good Boyfriend/Girlfriend.  Plenty of couples I know have, giving up their favorite parts of their relationship in an effort to grow up and mature into happily married people.  But you don't get happily married people unless you have the Boyfriend/Girlfriend skills down.  If you can't acknowledge and celebrate the fact that your Wife has been your Girlfriend a lot longer than she's been your Wife, you have issues.  If you can't look at your husband and see him as your Boyfriend, with all the High School silliness it implies, then you have issues.

Because if you stop being his Girlfriend when you become his Wife, then essentially your husband has promised to live with his ex-Girlfriend for the rest of his life.  And you don't want to be his Ex-Girlfriend, do you?  Not any more than you want to live with your ex-Boyfriend for the rest of your life. That just sounds hellish.

So if you're having marital issues, go back to the fundamentals: figure out how to be Boyfriend/Girlfriend again.  After all, that's a lot of what the MAP is, and a lot of what Athol recommends for increasing Alpha.  But keeping your BF/GF status in mind can help bring some wonderful clarity to your relationship, if nothing else.


  1. Great stuff the last two days! Will be proposing a BF/GF date/sex soon.

  2. I think one of the sad things about the state of modern marriage is that the very words "husband" and "wife" have been stripped of eroticism. We actually have to find new words to say what "husband" and "wife" used to mean.

    "Captain and First Officer" for example are loaded with sexual tension compared to "husband and wife".

    I mean no one would get on a cruise ship if they found out the guy running the boat had an official title of "Husband."

  3. Ian, I'm too lazy to look for it: did you expose your "Rules of Engagement" in a blog post? If you did not, I would love to see it... I am engaged right now, getting married sooner or later... it would be good to have an idea on how to propose the rules, and have an idea of what is in it.

  4. Here's the direct link. It's one of the cornerstones of my marriage.

  5. thank you for this post Ian!


  6. "casually comments to total strangers what a big dick you have and what a powerful lover you are." Hahahahaha, that is hilarious, I can't imagine ever doing that, we are going to the fair tonight, maybe I'll try it just to see what his reaction is I don't think I will ever see those people again.

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